- They verbally informed me that they were conducting this meeting to ensure appointments could be made to continue with the domestic tournaments
- I will study the decisions taken and seek a legal opinion on whether the meeting is legal or not. I will take a decision, after that
- I had referred a name as a Sports Ministry representative for the meeting, but was unaware if the representative had been invited
By Shehan Daniel
Sports Minister Harin Fernando said he would seek legal opinion before determining whether the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) held yesterday, was legal or not.
At least one club had objected to the AGM being conducted yesterday, on the grounds that the audited accounts for 2018 had not been circulated among the membership as mandated by the Sports Law and also SLC Constitution.
But the AGM, preceded by an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), was held where among the decisions taken was the recognition of a representative of the School Cricket Association as a member of the Executive Committee of SLC.
The Sports Minister said, “They verbally informed me that they were conducting this meeting to ensure appointments could be made to continue with the domestic tournaments,” adding that he was aware the necessary accounts had not been presented.
“I will study the decisions taken and seek a legal opinion on whether the meeting is legal or not. I will take a decision, after that,” he added.
He also said that he had referred a name as a Sports Ministry representative for the meeting, but was unaware if the representative had been invited.
Questions regarding the legality of the meeting were raised by the Colombo Colts Cricket Club, albeit at the eleventh hour, when it wrote to SLC on Saturday stating that the meeting would be a violation of the Sports Law and the SLC Constitution.
Despite issuing stakeholders with a notice, stating that their AGM would be conducted on May 12, SLC had not annexed accounts for the year 2018.
“As you are aware, the tabling of the Audited Financial Statements in respect of the preceeding financial year at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held on or before the 31st of May in each year is a statutory requirement under regulation No 7(xv) vide National Associations of Sports Regulation,” the letter, signed by its President Nishantha Ranatunga, read.
“Further it is a mandatory requirement in accordance of the Constitution of Sri Lanka Cricket according to Section 16 Article (b) “The Annual Report and a copy of the Audited Financial Statement Certified by the Auditor General pertaining to the preceding financial year shall be circulated not less than fourteen days before the date fixed for such meetings,” it also read.
Representatives of Colts, including Ranatunga, had raised a further objection and walked out of the AGM.
SLC had adjourned the AGM until the financial accounts for the year ended 2018 was certified by the Auditor General.
SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva contended that it was impossible for the accounts of 2018 to be presented at yesterday’s AGM as they had only taken office on February 21.
“Before we took over office, there were two interim arrangements, overseen by Competent Authorities, and none of the management accounts had been passed. Also there were two audits that took place, so our accounts section could not prepare everything that was necessary to ensure the accounts could be presented yesterday,” he said.
“We took office on February 21 and had to submit financial statements within seven days to the Auditor General, which we simply could not do,” he also said.
De Silva said he had written to the Sports Minister last month, on April 25, seeking permission to present the accounts for 2018 at the next AGM in May 2020, as they had been unable to circulate those accounts within the time-frame stipulated in the Sports Law.
The Minster had not responded to this letter, de Silva confirmed, saying that a representative of the Minister had merely communicated over telephone that the Minister had no such provision to allow such an extension.
“This objection has been raised by individuals who could not win an election the democratic way and are trying to disrupt the development of the game. We can’t postpone the AGM just because one club objects,” de Silva argued.
As it stands, a question arises as to whether mandatory provisions of the Sports Law could be dispensed with due to practical circumstances and if so to which extent and the manner in which such could be pursued.
It is in such premise that one would have to await the Minister’s determination.